Urban Arts Fund Mission

The Urban Arts Fund (UAF) is a graffiti prevention and youth development program funded through Denver Arts & Venues which facilitates the creation of new murals in perpetually vandalized areas throughout the City and County of Denver. The UAF provides access to positive, creative experiences for youth and transforms dilapidated areas into well-tended and active community gathering spaces. Since 2009, with the help of more than 4,500 youth and community participants, the program has facilitated nearly 330 new murals and has helped protect more than 500,000 square feet of walls from vandalism. 

Urban Arts Fund: Engage

The Urban Arts Fund was expanded in 2017 to encompass several extended programming partnerships connecting artists to the community. This group of immersion projects, known as Urban Arts Fund: Engage, focuses on community-building and social change.

Learn More:

Featured UAF Projects

Proyectos destacados de la UAF

  • Toggle Project Media Element

    2019

    "Major Taylor" by Jonathan Pucci, Urban Arts Fund mural on Cherry Creek Trail

  • Toggle Project Media Element

    2018

    "Birdwalk" Urban Arts Fund mural, Joe Shoemaker school students

  • Toggle Project Media Element

    2018

    Artist Ahmad Alwazzan, Urban Arts Fund mural on Cherry Creek Trail

  • Toggle Project Media Element

    2018

    Denver Urban Arts Fund: Engage - Gilliam Youth Services Center Partnership

  • Toggle Project Media Element

    2017

    Denver Urban Arts Fund Engage: Denver Health OBHS Partnership

  • Toggle Project Media Element

    2017

    Denver Urban Arts Fund Engage: RAW Denver Partnership

  • Toggle Project Media Element

    2015

    Gemma Danielle "City of the Sun" UAF Video

  • Toggle Project Media Element

    2015

    Muralist Jet Martinez in collaboration with Black Book Gallery and Denver Public Art Program

  • Toggle Project Media Element

    2015

    Denver 8 ArtScene episode featuring VSA Colorado's UAF 2015 Project

  • Toggle Project Media Element

    2014

    UAF Projects

  • Toggle Project Media Element

    2013

    UAF Projects

  • Toggle Project Media Element

    2013

    Jolt with PlatteForum Youth Group

  • Toggle Project Media Element

    2012

    UAF Projects

Mural Submission FAQs

1 What is a mural? expand to show What is a mural?

The City and County of Denver’s Zoning Department makes the final determination regarding projects like these to ensure the art really is art and not another sign or advertising. Denver Public Art (a division of Denver Arts & Venues) is a reviewing agency. If the project meets our guidelines for a one-of-a-kind work of art, we provide a letter of recommendation to Zoning, and they will issue the final determination.

Interested in creating art on your property, but don’t need a grant from Urban Arts Fund? Denver Public Art serves as a liaison between artists, property owners, Public Works, and Community Planning and Development. We can help you make sure that your art fits any community guidelines or codes.

Mural Application (for non UAF-funded murals)
Mural Policy, Permitting Process and Criteria
Graffiti Vandalism Removal Form

The maintenance of mural projects on private property is the sole responsibility of the property owner. For projects on public property, A&V will make every effort to conserve murals within its means to do so. The artist will be given the first opportunity to restore or repair a mural. At its discretion, the City of Denver reserves the right to abate any mural project in a public space.

The Urban Arts Fund Steering Committee (UAFSC) will review and select UAF projects on an annual basis. The UAFSC is comprised of one member from each of these city departments: Denver Public Works, Public Art Committee, Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs, Denver Community Planning & Development, Denver Parks & Recreation, Mayor’s Office. Additionally, the Steering Committee includes at least one local artist.

Denver Arts & Venues (A&V) established the Urban Arts Fund (UAF) in response to graffiti task force recommendations by Mayor Hickenlooper’s administration in 2007. The goal was to create murals in areas that were deemed “graffiti hot spots,” and to provide positive, creative experiences for youth to deter future vandalism.  The first mural projects were implemented in 2009. With the help of more than 4,500 youth and community participants, the program has facilitated nearly 330 new murals and has helped protect more than 500,000 square feet of walls from vandalism. The UAF program is fully funded by Denver Arts & Venues, however, all projects require matching funds or in-kind donation of goods and/or services. The program may accept donations either to the program as a whole, or to individual initiatives.

  • Deter Graffiti Vandalism
  • Foster Meaningful, Creative Experiences for Youth
  • Develop Opportunities for Artists
  • Ensure Diversity, Equity, Inclusiveness and Accessibility
  • Advance community building and social change

Inspired by Denver’s Cultural Plan, Denver Arts & Venues (A&V) is committed to the agency’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative (EDI). These core values have guided the development of the Urban Arts Fund guidelines, application and selection process. We define such values as follows:

Equity: The fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time identifying and eliminating barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. Improving equity involves increasing justice and fairness within the protocols, processes, practices and policies of institution or systems, as well as in their distribution of resources. Confronting and tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of disparities within our society. Equity is closely tied to actions and results to address historical disparities.

Diversity: Recognition and representation of individual or group differences encompassing race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, ability, socioeconomic status, age, religion, and other area of identity.

Inclusion: Embracing differences by creating environments in which any individual or group can feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. To achieve inclusiveness, recognition of implicit or unconscious bias is necessary.

A. Eligibility
Any artist or team of artists demonstrating the ability to execute a successful mural project regardless of race, color, creed, gender, gender variance, national origin, age, religion, marital status, political opinion or affiliation, or mental or physical disability. We encourage emerging artists, and artists representing marginalized communities including women, people of color, people with disabilities, and people identifying as LGBTQ+, to apply.

Denver Arts & Venues is committed to diversity, inclusiveness and equity in all programs, initiatives and decision making processes.

Preference will be given to projects with:

  • A well-planned youth development and community engagement component
  • First time applicants – artists and organizations who have not received funding in previous years
  • Projects in neighborhoods and city council districts which currently have few or zero UAF mural projects, including, but not limited to, council districts 4, 5, 6 and 8.
    Please refer to this MAP.

B. Projects on Private Property
Projects on private property will require permission from the property owner. You may use the sample UAF Property Owner Introduction Letter as an introduction to the property owner. This letter describes the UAF Program, its benefits, and the responsibilities of the City and Property Owner.

C. Projects in Public Spaces
For projects in public spaces (example: in a city park), once approved, Arts & Venues will work with City Council representatives to garner their support of the project in their district.